Gregory Karp covers airlines and writes the biweekly Spending Smart column. Before joining the Tribune, he was a business editor and ...

Read full bio

Gregory Karp

Gregory Karp

Spending Smart

Protect your medical records from identity theft

Protect your medical records from identity theft

April 14, 2015

Identity theft to many people is not a big deal because it has become synonymous with the minor hassle of dealing with a stolen credit card number. You get another card, and you're not out any money. And it happens so often, we've become numb to data-breach headlines.

  • Stay on top of latest personal finance issues, offerings

    March 28, 2015

    Consumers are busy with their daily lives, making it difficult to keep abreast of all the trends and issues that affect their wallets — household savings, fine print in contracts they sign with companies and insurance shopping, for example.

  • 10 things you should know about credit unions

    March 17, 2015

    Perhaps the most underused, underappreciated consumer-friendly institutions, next to public libraries, are credit unions, which people use for loans, savings and daily banking. But recent data show the secret is slowly but surely leaking out.

  • How to choose a financial adviser who's right for you

    February 28, 2015

    Some financial advisers are riddled with conflicts of interest, making extra cash for themselves when they put your money in bad investments. Hidden fees and sales commissions can secretly gobble up thousands of your hard-earned dollars.

  • Teaching children the value of a dollar

    February 16, 2015

    Among a parent's worst fears is that their child will grow up to be spoiled, probably because it reflects on the quality of parenting, as all children are presumably born unspoiled.

  • Control your spending by understanding marketing tactics

    February 2, 2015

    Retail therapy might not be the best medicine, but aroma therapy makes scents.

  • Got an hour? Tackle these money tasks

    January 19, 2015

    You've read all the New Year's resolution money-advice articles with their suggestions, sometimes trite, "Skip your morning coffee and save a fortune!" and sometimes vague, "Spend less than you make!"

  • Survey: 52 percent of fliers welcome pet cabin mate

    December 30, 2014

    About half of fliers would be OK with pets traveling in airplane cabins, rather than being stowed as cargo, according to a recent survey.

  • Standouts from a year's worth of smart money advice

    December 26, 2014

    Identity theft protection, TV antennas, light bulbs and home heating myths are just a few of the Spending Smart topics we explored this year, along with how to speed through airport security, get free books and college courses, and avoid wasting money on mobile phones.

  • Chicago home sales continue slide as prices rise

    December 22, 2014

    Sales of existing homes in the Chicago region continued their slide in November, but prices continued to rise, according to data released Monday by the Illinois Association of Realtors.

  • Navy tests alcohol-based fuel for fighter jet

    December 22, 2014

    The Navy on Monday said it had conducted a test flight of a fighter jet using a renewable alcohol-based fuel as an alternative to petroleum.

  • State hospital association names new chairman

    December 22, 2014

    The CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare has been elected chairman of the Illinois Hospital Association.

  • United to add summer service between Chicago, Rome

    December 22, 2014

    United Airlines in spring plans to launch new nonstop flights between O'Hare International Airport and Rome.

  • Nearly 80 percent of employers give year-end bonuses, survey says

    December 22, 2014

    Four of 5 employers plan to offer some type of holiday bonus or gift this year, but most are not the kind Wall Street gets, which this year is likely to surpass $164,000 on average, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

  • Airline industry poised to fly high in 2015

    December 19, 2014

    The airline industry in 2015 is likely to be healthy again thanks to mergers and falling jet fuel prices, and while consumers might be stuffed into slimmer seats in coach at least they will be able to enjoy new and upgraded planes and more onboard amenities, such as Wi-Fi and streaming video.

  • American to hire 250 at O'Hare as it revamps schedule

    December 18, 2014

    American Airlines will hire an additional 250 people as it revamps its flight schedule at O'Hare International Airport in the spring to group flights closer together, according to a company memo distributed Thursday.

  • Businesses welcome shift on Cuba

    December 18, 2014

    Since Phil Ledbetter started working at Up Down Cigar some 14 years ago, he's regularly asked the same questions: Where are the Cuban cigars? In the back?

  • Holiday tipping: Who gets paid and how much

    December 8, 2014

    Tipping a service person is illogical if you stop to think about it. Why would rational people voluntarily pay more for a service than they must?

  • Choose your payment methods wisely for holiday shopping

    November 21, 2014

    With holiday shopping gearing up, a plethora of stressful decisions includes not only what you buy and how much you spend but how you pay.

  • Common heating myths that can raise energy bills

    November 7, 2014

    Advice about saving money on home heating costs abounds this time of year, but some of it is oversimplified, marketing hype or just plain wrong, while some long-standing myths persist about keeping warm on the cheap.

  • Simple antenna can help kick costly cable TV habit

    October 31, 2014

    As more people rethink ways to get television programming outside the traditional cable and satellite companies, the unsung TV antenna is becoming a fundamental component of their cord-cutting strategy.

  • How single people can save on food expenses

    October 17, 2014

    Single people, who now make up the majority of American adults, often have spending and saving concerns that differ from those of married folks. Eating and drinking expenses are among the big ones — buying a 5-gallon jar of pickles at the warehouse club to save money doesn't seem like such a good idea when you're buying for one.

  • Working through phone warranty options

    October 2, 2014

    When it comes to insurance products, extended warranties are the black sheep of the family, regularly derided by consumer advocates as being too expensive for the protection they provide.

  • What you can do with your old phones

    September 24, 2014

    With consumers rushing to buy the new iPhone 6, Moto X or any other late-model smartphone, a related industry is bustling: recommerce companies that will buy your old smartphone, sometimes for hundreds of dollars.

  • When are airport fast lanes worth the money?

    September 4, 2014

    Convenience vs. cash. We pay for all sorts of services to avoid hassle and stress. Should paying for TSA Precheck to speed through airport security screening be one of them?

  • Get more mileage out of used bike

    April 27, 2012

    Like new cars, new bicycles depreciate dramatically the moment they leave the cycle shop. So buying used can be a better value for your money, especially if you can score a decent ride for less than $100.

  • Drive auto insurance lower

    November 4, 2011

    The ideal way to save money is to exert effort once and automatically reap savings over and over again, every month. That's why examining your car insurance makes a lot of sense.

  • Don't get taken for a ride on car repairs

    September 2, 2011

    For consumers, information is power. But smart shoppers can't be expected to be experts in all categories of buying. That's why one of the biggest benefits of using the Internet is to lift the veil of ignorance that leads to bad purchases.

  • New sites, apps that might be worth consuming

    June 3, 2011

    Technology is a huge help for consumers to spend money smarter.

  • Is it a good idea to lease?

    May 31, 2011

    Consumers who lease vehicles are confronted with a decision after a few years of ownership. Do I give back the car after the contractual lease period ends, or do I buy it?